North Baltimore's top cop met face to face Wednesday with 40 crime-weary residents on Daniel Chase's front lawn in Lake Walker.
The good turnout didn't surprise Chase.
"It's a good neighborhood," he said.
That's the problem, said police Maj. Kimberly Burrus, commander of the Northern District, citing a year-to-date spike in burglaries that is plaguing Lake Walker and the nearby communities of Evesham Park and Lake Evesham.
"In these neighborhoods, (burglars) figure they get bang for their buck," Burrus told the crowd at the meeting onLake Avenue, just east of York Road. "They come from outside your neighborhood. Your neighborhood is beautiful."
Recent victims include Chase, a contractor, and his wife, Jenny Morgan, director of Baltimore Green Works, whose house was burglarized in broad daylight July 17.
"They broke in the house and stole (Morgan's) car key," Chase said. "I came home for lunch and everything was fine. I came home at 6 and everything had happened."
That was just the first incident.
"Two weeks ago, they broke the windows of my other car," Morgan said.
Residents also complained about drug dealing, loud parties and drinking, and about infrequent police patrols in the area. Burrus said only one patrol officer drives around the immediate area. She said she doesn't have enough resources to add another patrol officer, but she plans to ask the existing officer to patrol the neighborhood more often.
Compounding the crime problem are a lot of rental and investment properties, said Kathy Brohawn, president of the Lake Walker Community Association.
Some residents expressed frustration at a lack of channels for communicating to police when they see suspicious people in the area or crimes happening.
Burrus said, "We definitely need you to call," but advised them to pass information on to their community leaders.
"I don't have a problem with that," Brohawn said.
"Let's do this again," Burrus said to applause after the hour-long meeting.
Morgan had mixed emotions about the meeting and what police can do with "paper-thin" manpower to stop the spate of recent crimes.
"I think we all stood around and told (crime) stories," she said. "We would like to have another (patrol) car. We have a big area and one car. People are talking about moving. That's not good."
But Morgan said if nothing else, area residents educated Burrus about crime in the area.
"We raised her awareness," Morgan said, "That's probably the best we can do."